We are now deep in flu season so now is the time to protect yourself and vulnerable people in our community against influenza.
We visited Flinders Park Primary School to find out what they know about flu and what we can do to protect them, and ourselves against the virus.
What is the flu?
Patrick says, “It’s a very bad cold that sometimes people get and sometimes people think they’ve got it when they don’t because the flu is much worse than a cold.”
Chloe says, “It’s like a cold, but a bit worse.”
Jackson says, “It’s a virus that can come into other people that makes you very sick.”
“I would say it’s like a cold, just stronger. It’s contagious and you can get other people sick,” Bailey says.
They are absolutely right. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza A or B (or rarely C) viruses. It’s highly infectious. Australia’s flu season occurs every year, usually between May and September.
The flu virus spreads when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. They project small droplets containing infectious agents into the air, which may then be breathed in by those nearby.
You can also spread infection by contact with hands, tissues and other articles soiled by infected nose and throat discharges, so it’s best to keep it to yourself.
“You have to stay at home and if that doesn’t work, you have to go to hospital and you have to have an injection,” Jasraj from Flinders Park Primary says.
What can your doctor do to help?
Patrick says, “ You can go get a special needle that would help your body fight it and you could get some medicine that tells your brain how to fight it and maybe even some dead germs so your body fights them as well.”
The needle is, of course, the flu shot, which you can get from your GP or local pharmacy. It can protect you against several different strains of flu.
Last year in South Australia 118 people died of flu-related complications and over 28 000 suffered from confirmed cases of the illness, so it’s a good idea to cover yourself to protect others. You can find out more at the SA Health website.
The students from Flinders Park Primary School reckon the flu jab is a great way to stop the spread of sickness and they also want you to stay home if you’re ill.
Jasraj says, “Have an injection. Stay home and don’t go to school if you don’t feel well. You have to stay home. If you don’t stay home and you come to school and play with your friends, maybe one of your friends will get sick and the flu will keep passing on to different people.”
When Patrick is sick, he makes sure to take care of himself and others: “I wash my hands lots and I stay in bed and try to keep warm and rest.”
What’s the best way to cover your sneeze?
Medical professionals say you should sneeze into the inside of your elbow or into a tissue, and our junior experts say dabbing is key.
“You can cover it with your elbow or with a tissue. If you don’t have time, you could just dab. Instead of the normal dab that goes over your eyes, it goes over your nose,” Patrick says.
What can you do to stop the spread of infectious diseases?
SA Health says get your vaccination, stay out of the infection radius and wash, wipe, cover.
The kids know all about this!
Chloe says, “We clean and spray all our stuff.”
“When you wash your hands real good, then all the bacteria is gone and you won’t get sick,” says Patrick.
What are you going to do to stay healthy this winter?
Jasraj says, “I’m going to eat lots of fruit and wear nice, cosy clothes.”
“Rest,” Jackson says.
Chloe has some excellent tips for us: “Drink water. Put on lots of warm stuff and keep out of the cold for a long time.”
“Eat healthy food,” says Patrick.
To find out how you can best keep flu at bay, visit the SA Health website.